SES Astra has announced that it is enhancing its digital services and offering an infrastructure for Free-TV, Pay-TV and additional interactive services. The new offer will be open to all broadcasters and ease the development of digital services on an open technological basis. The offer will consist of playout services, encryption of programme signals, smart card distribution for access and customer relations management.
SES Astra describes the enhanced services as a future-proof solution for digital TV. For playout and technical services, SES Astra will rely on its existing subsidiary Astra Platform Services (APS) in UnterfÃ¤hring near Munich whilst logistics, distribution of smart cards and customer services will be handled by a new SES Astra affiliate.
“By building up a new service package, we consistently follow our strategy to improve our portfolio as a technical service provider for TV channels and focus their activities on digitization”, said Ferdinand Kayser, President and CEO of SES Astra. “The infrastructure that we offer is completely open for everybody, neutral and non-discriminatory. What we are doing will help all interested Free- and Pay-TV channels to enter the digital age, enabling the distribution of new programmes and programme packages and therefore fostering competition. This is how we will provide an important stimulus for the development of digital TV in Germany and further evidence of the role of the satellite as a technical pioneer.”
TV households will be able to take advantage of the digital offer if they have a satellite dish, a satellite receiver together with an appropriate smart card and if they undertake a simple one-time registration. A receiver is suitable if it either already handles a suitable smart card or can be upgraded to handle such a smart card through an open interface (Common Interface). In order to use the service, users will be charged a low monthly digital flat rate to cover the technical cost of operating the digital infrastructure.